Twenty One Lessor Known But Equally Important Thanksgiving Facts.



Twenty One Lessor Known But Equally Important Thanksgiving Facts.





1.The famous “Pilgrim and Indian” story featured in modern

Thanksgiving narratives was not initially part of the early

Thanksgiving stories, largely due to the tensions between

the Indians and Colonists.



  1. The average long-distance Thanksgiving trip is 214 miles,

compared with 275 miles over the Christmas

and New Year’s holiday.


  1. The first Thanksgiving in America actually occurred in

1541, when Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and

his expedition held a thanksgiving celebration in Palo

Duro Canyon in the Texas panhandle.


  1. The famous pilgrim celebration at Plymouth Colony

Massachusetts in 1621 is traditionally regarded as

the first American Thanksgiving. However, there are

actually 12 claims to where the  “first”

Thanksgiving took place: two in Texas, two in Florida, one

in Maine, two in Virginia, and five in



  1. Americans eat roughly 535 million pounds of turkey on



  1. One of the most popular first Thanksgiving stories recalls

the three-day celebration in Plymouth,

Massachusetts, in 1621. Over 200 years later, President

Lincoln declared the last Thursday in

November as a national day of thanksgiving, and in 1941

Congress established the fourth Thursday in

November as a national holiday.


  1. Thanksgiving is an amalgam of different traditions,

including ancient harvest festivals, the religious

New England Puritan Thanksgiving, the traditional

harvest celebrations of England and New England,

and changing political and ideological assumptions of

Native Americans.


  1. The Pilgrim’s thanksgiving feast in 1621 occurred

sometime between September 21 and November 1.

It lasted three days and included 50 surviving pilgrims

and approximately 90 Wampanoag Indians,

including Chief Massasoit. Their menu differed from

modern Thanksgiving dinners and included berries,

shellfish, boiled pumpkin, and deer.


  1. Now a Thanksgiving dinner staple, cranberries were

actually used by Native Americans to treat arrow

wounds and to dye clothes.


  1. In 2007, George W. Bush granted a pardon to two

turkeys named May and Flower. The tradition of

pardoning Thanksgiving turkeys began in 1947, though

Abraham Lincoln is said to have informally started the

practice when he pardoned his son’s pet turkey.


  1. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved

Thanksgiving to the next-to-last Thursday in November

to prolong the holiday shopping season, many

Republicans rebelled. The holiday was temporarily

celebrated on different dates: November 30 became the

      “Republican Thanksgiving” and November 23 was

“Franksgiving” or  “Democrat Thanksgiving.”


  1. Not all states were eager to adopt Thanksgiving because

some thought the national government was exercising

too much power in declaring a national holiday.

Additionally, southern states were hesitant to observe

what was largely a New England practice.


  1. In December 1620, the first Pilgrims landed and built

their settlement site in the middle of the homeland of

Wampanoag people. Several years earlier, a plague

brought by Europeans had killed the inhabitants of the



  1. The pilgrims most likely would not have survived without

the help of Tisquantum, or Squanto (c.1580-1622).

Squanto knew English and had already been back and

forth across the ocean to England three times (most often

as a captured slave). Some historians have suggested that

he was later poisoned by the Wampanoag.


  1. Thanksgiving football games began with Yale versus

Princeton in 1876.


  1. Baby turkeys are called poults. Only male turkeys gobble

and, therefore, are called gobblers.


  1. Long before the Pilgrims, native Hawaiians celebrated the

longest thanksgiving in the world-Makahiki, which lasted

four months, approximately from November through

February. During this time, both work and war were



  1. The people of the Virgin Islands, a United States territory

in the Caribbean Sea, celebrate two thanksgivings, the

national holiday and Hurricane Thanksgiving Day. Every

Oct 19, if there have been no hurricanes, Hurricane Day

is held and the islanders give thanks that they have been



  1. Thanksgiving can occur as early as November 22 and as

late as November 28.

  1. The Friday after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday

largely because stores hope the busy shopping day will

take them out of the red and into positive profits. Black

Friday has been a tradition since the 1930s.


  1. Thanksgiving is often considered the site of the first

cultural war because it contains both a narrative

of the birth of freedom and democracy as well as an

account of racism, mistreatment of Native Americans,

and conflict.


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